1915 Road Race vintage car show in Balboa Park!

Kid checks engine of vintage car at Balboa Park show commemorating 1915 race.
Kid checks engine of vintage car at Balboa Park show commemorating 1915 race.

One hundred years ago a famous road race took place in San Diego. Many of the world’s greatest race drivers took part. The 1915 San Diego Exposition Road Race was a thrilling, dangerous 300 mile race around the streets of Point Loma. Those streets still exist today.

This morning, dozens of vintage cars took part in a rally along the old race route. The event was part of Balboa Park’s Centennial celebration, which is being held all year long to remember the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

Before the rally, the participating cars gathered in Balboa Park in front of the San Diego Automotive Museum for a special car show. I walked up to the park this morning to check things out.

Wow! Double wow!

Please enjoy these photos. While I love looking at classic cars, I’m very far from being an expert. If you detect an error in the captions, or have something interesting to add, please leave a comment!

Guy drives his classic automobile through Balboa Park, heading to a special car show.
Guy drives his classic automobile through Balboa Park, heading to a special car show.
Old race car is pushed into position. San Diego Automotive Museum is in the background.
Old race car is pushed into position. San Diego Automotive Museum is in the background.
Vintage cars from era of Point Loma road race that began 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Vintage cars from era of Point Loma road race that began 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Someone checks out Fiat racing car at special Balboa Park Centennial event.
Someone checks out Fiat racing car at special Balboa Park Centennial event.
Wooden dashboard full of knobs looks almost prehistoric compared to modern cars!
Wooden dashboard full of knobs looks almost prehistoric compared to modern cars!
Engine of 1914 Tahis Special that competed in many races!
Engine of 1914 Tahis Special that competed in many races!
Collectibles from 1915 road race in Point Loma that kicked off Panama-California Exposition!
Collectibles from 1915 road race in Point Loma that kicked off Panama-California Exposition!
People can still ride in style in this elegant Pierce-Arrow.
People can still ride in style in this elegant Pierce-Arrow.
Pierce-Arrow luxury automobiles in early 1900s were owned by many movie stars and tycoons.
Pierce-Arrow luxury automobiles in early 1900s were owned by many movie stars and tycoons.
So many amazing cars were lined up in the parking lot it was hard to take it all in!
So many amazing cars were lined up in the parking lot it was hard to take it all in!
1910 REO Model D Touring car has a very classic look.
1910 REO Model D Touring car has a very classic look.
Check out this awesome vintage Cadillac!
Check out this awesome vintage Cadillac!
1909 Pope Hartford on display at Balboa Park Centennial special car show.
1909 Pope Hartford on display at Balboa Park Centennial special car show.
This isn't your father's Buick. But it might have been driven by the grandparents!
This isn’t your father’s Buick. But it might have been driven by your grandparents!
Walking around, I felt like I'd stepped back in time one hundred years!
Walking around, I felt like I’d stepped back in time one hundred years!
Here's the grill of a cool Ford. License plate is for a Horseless Carriage.
Here’s the grill of a cool Ford. License plate is for a Horseless Carriage.
Colorful Ford is painted orange and green. Awesome!
Colorful Ford is painted orange and green. Awesome!
Red and green signal light near spare tire on back.
Red and green signal light near spare tire on back.
1910 Velie Model D Touring cars were popular. Velie race cars were also successful.
1910 Velie Model D Touring cars were popular. Velie race cars were also successful.
Many of these beautiful old cars contain wood, brass and leather.
Many of these beautiful old cars contain lots of wood, brass and leather.
Dozens of classic cars were out on display!
Dozens of classic cars were out on public display!
Inspecting another Velie, made in Moline, Illinois.
Inspecting another Velie, made early last century in Moline, Illinois.
Very cool 1911 Ono, a vintage chain driven race car.
Very cool 1911 Ono, a vintage chain-driven race car.
Someone nearby joked: It's a motorcycle chain!
Someone nearby joked: It’s a motorcycle chain!
And here's a guy checking out the engine of an Italian Isotta Fraschini.
And here’s a guy checking out the engine of an Italian Isotta Fraschini.
Makes my own extremely modest car look downright futuristic!
Makes my own extremely modest car look downright futuristic!
Chests full of tools that car mechanics would use back in the old days.
Chests full of tools that car mechanics would use back in the old days.
Kid checks out a 1912 Packard race car in Balboa Park.
Kid checks out a 1912 Packard race car in Balboa Park.
Many refurbished motors were open for people to investigate.
Many refurbished motors were open for people to investigate.
A large crowd enjoys many super cool cars in front of San Diego Automotive Museum.
A large crowd enjoys many super cool cars in front of San Diego Automotive Museum.
News cameraman gets a shot of young girl in pink pretending to race a vintage car.
News cameraman gets a shot of young girl in pink pretending to race a vintage car.
Racing goggles lie ready on leather seat. The road rally will begin in a few minutes!
Racing goggles lie ready on leather seat. The road rally will begin in a few minutes!
I've never seen so many cameras taking so many photographs in one place!
I’ve never seen so many cameras taking so many photographs in one place!
Fun historical costumes were everywhere you turned.
Fun historical costumes were everywhere you turned.
This fellow is ready to go! It's a perfect Saturday morning for a road trip!
This fellow is ready to go! It’s a perfect Saturday morning for a road trip!
It might have a dent or two, but it still runs!
It might have a dent or two, but it still runs!
One guy checks out the steering wheel, another the unusual wheels on the asphalt!
One guy checks out the steering wheel, another the unusual wheels on the asphalt!
Getting the engine started with the old hand crank!
Getting the engine started with the old hand crank!
Gentlemen, take your seats! We're about to get started!
Gentlemen, take your seats! We’re about to get started!
Don't touch this fancy car unless you are nude! (And showered, presumably.)
Don’t touch this fancy car unless you are nude! (And showered, presumably.)
I love this shiny oval grill on a Pope-Hartford.
I love this shiny oval grill on a Pope-Hartford.
Not sure how this old horseless carriage would fare in a race.
Not sure how this old horseless carriage would fare in a race.
That's about as primitive a car you'll ever see.
That’s as primitive a motorcar as you’re likely to ever see.
Folks are talking and having a whole lot of fun!
Folks are shooting the breeze and having a whole lot of fun!
This guy is getting ready to climb aboard a gorgeous classic Hudson.
This guy is getting ready to climb aboard a gorgeous classic Hudson.
Car show disbands and crowds have scattered to make way.
Car show disbands and crowds have scattered to make way.
Here they come! That's the San Diego Air and Space Museum in the background.
Here they come! That’s the San Diego Air and Space Museum in the background.
Many drivers and onlookers wore clothing styles from early 20th century.
Many drivers and onlookers wore fashion styles from early 20th century.
A long line of beautiful vintage hundred-year-old autos rumbles past.
A long line of beautifully restored hundred-year-old autos rumbles past.
Heading out of Balboa Park for Point Loma, where historic 1915 race will be commemorated.
Heading out of Balboa Park for Point Loma, where historic 1915 race will be commemorated.

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Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

16 thoughts on “1915 Road Race vintage car show in Balboa Park!”

      1. There is a great car museum in Tacoma, WA that I hope to see when I go back to Seattle for a visit. I can’t remember the man’s name but he had a huge collection of cars so left them all and the money to create the museum.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haven’t gone yet. I have my eyes set on a museum day, buying a pass to get into several museums in one day then eating at the El Prado restaurant 🙂

        Like

  1. Oh, what a FABULOUS display of cars! When we walked around the Auto building last night, if I had only known that these beauties were out earlier in the day I would have skipped my daughter’s fencing tourny yesterday morning and watched these cars instead!

    Liked by 1 person

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